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Retail Insights

Ashley Scorpio

Black Friday, Cyber Monday and, in fact, all of Cyber Week kicks off the holiday shopping season for brick-and-mortar and ecommerce retailers alike. In 2020, Cyber Monday online sales reached $10.8 billion, making it the biggest ecommerce sales day to date. While consumers say they are looking forward to deals from giants like Amazon and Walmart, it’s important for smaller ecommerce retailers to get on consumers’ radar early, build anticipation, and deliver value throughout Black Friday & Cyber Monday (BFCM). 

How to Audit Your Site Before BFCM

Before Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, you’ll want to audit various elements of your website to ensure a superior customer experience. You’ll want to look at your: 

  • Overall user experience on the site
  • Branding consistency across the site, social media, and other marketing channels
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Checkout flow and payment options

But there’s even more to be done when it comes to a high-volume sales week like BFCM. Particularly with the anticipated supply chain delays this year, you’ll want to place a heavy focus on your inventory. 

Check and Update Product Stock Information

There are few things more frustrating to shoppers than seeing that a coveted item is available, only to put it in their online shopping cart and find that it’s now out of stock or could take weeks to ship.

Cross-reference your website stock information with your inventory management system to ensure that quantities showing online are accurate. This can be especially tricky (and important) if you have a brick-and-mortar element to your store. In this case, you’ll need to ensure that your online inventory reflects data from the point of sale as well. 

Increase Your Inventory

Do you have enough of the right items for this year’s BFCM event? Consider what products you’ll be promoting or discounting and ensure that you have sufficient quantities. Especially with anticipated supply chain delays, the time to prep your inventory and order what you need is now. 

Map Out Your Sales and Marketing Plan

Once your website is in top-notch shape and your inventory-management systems are up-to-date, it’s time to get busy mapping out your BFCM marketing strategy. After all, your sales are only as good as the products you offer, and the wrong product selections or price points can cause even the most creative campaigns to fall flat. 

Decide On Your Sales

Review your sales data and key performance indicators for the past three quarters to determine the products you want to spotlight during Black Friday and Cyber Monday (and the weeks leading up to it), the steeply discounted loss leaders that will ultimately drive traffic to your site, and the hot items that you want to offer on sale. 

Build Anticipation for Those Sales Through Multiple Channels 

Use social media, blog posts, paid search, paid social, email marketing, and other channels to build excitement for your BFCM sales. Map out your marketing strategy and develop creative briefs for each content asset you’ll need leading up to BFCM. 

Remember, email marketing is bigger than ever/span. There’s huge value in delivering the right message to your customers’ mailboxes at the right time. Use the weeks leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday for A/B testing and exploring different email marketing tactics and subject lines. 

Integrate social media marketing and paid social using tactics such as retargeting. Retargeting campaigns can yield an impressive ROI while increasing your brand’s visibility in advance of the biggest shopping week of the year. 

Use the Right Tools and Software To Optimize the Shopper Experience

Even with all these elements in place, you can also take advantage of cutting-edge software, apps, and tools to optimize the shopper experience. Make it easy for shoppers to make a purchase anywhere, using whatever payment form is best for them. Payment tools like Zip, a leading Buy Now, Pay Later platform, can give your customers more flexibility when cash flow may be tight during the holiday season. 

Buy Now, Pay Later

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) platforms such as Zip give customers increased flexibility with less risk—to you and to their budgets—than credit cards. In 2021, 56% of Americans said they’d used a Buy Now, Pay Later service, an increase of 48% since last year. A missed payment with a BNPL service like Zip won’t affect the borrower’s credit score, nor will opening a Zip account. And merchants don’t run the risk of costly chargebacks that can hurt their reputation with credit card service providers.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing puts part of the task of promoting your products into the hands of your best, most loyal customers. If you haven’t already delved into affiliate marketing, now is a good time — before the BFCM rush. Finding the right affiliates can take time, but working with a marketing consultancy that already has partnerships with successful affiliate networks can help streamline that process. 

Influencer Marketing

Similar to affiliate marketing, influencer marketing emphasizes high-profile brand evangelists who can promote your website and products to their large and attentive networks. You can leverage shopping features on Instagram to make it easy for consumers to buy the products they see in the hands — or closets or living rooms— of top influencers. One study found that 64% of women shopping for apparel on mobile devices make a purchase based on products they see in social media content. If you aren’t already exploring the possibilities of influencer marketing, BFCM is a great time to see how it can boost your business.

Is Your Ecommerce Site Ready for BFCM? 

Your ecommerce site may be in need of several optimizations you’re ready for the sales rush that BFCM promises. Begin with an audit, check your inventory, and don’t forget to create a solid marketing strategy for the weeks leading up to Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Cyber Week. 

Having the right software partners, marketing plan, and tools to make shopping easy for your customers can make all the difference in your bottom line this year. Need some help getting Cyber Week-ready? The expert team of digital marketers at Hawke Media can help you reap the benefits of the most wonderful time of the year!

Ashley Scorpio
Ashley Scorpio

is the Vice President of Partnerships at Hawke Media, a full service digital marketing agency and Your Outsourced CMO.® With over a decade of experience in both traditional and digital marketing, Ashley is a performance marketing leader that specializes in paid social media advertising, focusing on ecommerce brands and B2B SaaS companies.